“It’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from here.”
2011 has been called the year of thirds: Battlefield 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, and Saints Row the Third all come to mind. But by far the best game in 2011, in my opinion, was the third installment in the Deus Ex series, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The original Deus Ex, released in 2000, has won dozens of awards since its inception, including the prestigious Game of the Year award from IGN in 2001. And while Human Revolution hasn’t yet proven to be quite the cult classic that its predecessor has, it is still quite the impressive game.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an action-RPG hybrid, combining shooter elements with an Experience Point system designed to upgrade the various augmentations unlocked throughout the game. The storyline is superb, starting off with a bang and never letting up from there as main character Adam Jensen, resurrected from the dead by mechanical augmentation, hunts down the terrorists who attacked his workplace Sarif Industries and killed him. Each mission within the storyline has, essentially, as many different ways to reach the objective as you can possibly conceive; the open-world setting of each city allows you to climb buildings and ladders, jump off rooftops, sneak through occupied areas, or even leave a trail of bodies behind you, and each path is rewarded with Experience Points so as to promote creativity. The visuals in this game are stunning; the backgrounds created for this game are artistic masterpieces that never get boring. Ditto for the audio- the voice acting is top-notch, and I never once found myself thinking “that voice doesn’t fit the character at all!”
Gameplay-wise, the shooting is very responsive, the guns are reasonably powerful and upgrade-able, some more than others (I particularly enjoyed the homing-missile bullet upgrade for my assault rifle!). In fact, my only complaint about the gameplay (and the only thing keeping this game from getting a perfect 10 out of 10 in my book) are the immersion-breaking boss fights. Designed by an out-of-house studio, the boss fights require you, in every case, to bring out your biggest guns and duke it out with your opponent, without any other paths for confrontation- a horribly unwelcome change from the original Deus Ex, where most bosses could be assassinated prior to the fight, evaded entirely in one particular circumstance, and (my favorite) triggered to explode through speech. However, despite the boss fights, I would immediately recommend this game to those looking for a solid but entertaining story-based experience, with its 30+ gameplay hours for me (and I missed a LOT!) and incredible replay value.